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I'm having trouble even finding the right search terms to diagnose this problem. It's also hard to reproduce on my own machine.

When I enter a command in the terminal, occassionally I will see no results at all. I won't even see a new prompt. It seems like the display is getting corrupted. All it takes to clear it up is hitting Enter again. Then I will see a (second) new prompt, and the result of the previous command.

A similar thing is happening in Emacs. When I switch to a buffer, or scroll, occassionally there are several missing lines, or even portions of lines. If I highlight those lines, they become visable again.

I'm not even sure what system controls rendering in both Emacs and Terminal. I don't notice the problem in any other applications (other than those, I mainly use Chrome).

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It just happened in Emacs and I was going to take a screenshot, but as soon as I opened the unity menu, the missing characters reappeared. So it seems to clear up whenever the screen is refreshed somehow. – Reed G. Law Mar 7 '12 at 16:29
Does it happen in a console (when you hit CTRL+ALT+F1), or only under GUI?. Have you tried alternative console emulators (like guake, konsole or any other)?. – Javier Rivera Mar 7 '12 at 17:03
Only when inside Unity. I haven't tried alternate consoles. It's been happening a lot in irb (Ruby's REPL). – Reed G. Law Mar 7 '12 at 17:51
At this point it looks like a bug in either compiz/graphic drivers or gnome console. Trying alternative consoles could help in narrowing it. – Javier Rivera Mar 7 '12 at 18:17
Ok, I've started using guake and I like it so far. We'll see if it has the same issuee... – Reed G. Law Mar 7 '12 at 19:31

It seems to be a bug in the NVidia drivers. Here are some solutions to the similar question:

Gnome-terminal doesn't refresh

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